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Archive for the ‘mystery’ Category

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If you like amusing mysteries, like Donald Westlake, try Robert Barnard.

“This latest expertly plotted whodunit from Barnard’s reliable pen takes his readers into the halls of Parliament to observe Colin Pinnock, MP, enter the government as a junior minister in the department of education and training. Oh, isn’t everybody happy for our young, rising politician. Well, not everyone, for Colin, still flush from his promotion, receives a perplexing and even intimidating message from an unknown person. The message seems to imply that Colin can’t be certain of his parentage. Colin decides to investigate whether this is true, and the path he follows leads to an infamous figure once in the public eye and now presumed dead or in hiding, one Lord John Revill, who murdered his wife and was carrying on with their children’s nanny. An important fact he comes across is that at the time the wife met her unfortunate end, the nanny was with child. Or was she with more than one child? Ah, therein lies the solution to the problem, and Barnard unfolds Colin’s road to self-discovery with excellent pacing.” – Booklist Reviews

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Unlike the popular Midsomer Murder series based on Graham’s novels, these are really not particularly cozies.  The setting is right for a cozy, but Graham, gets down to a grittier, more psychological level.  I find them well worth the reading time.  You won’t often find them in used book stores, I believe, because, people seldom unload their Caroline Graham’s novels.

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If you like Italian settings, try Magdalen Nabb’s gripping story.  “Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia, a Sicilian officer…stationed in Florence, is faced with the horrendous kidnapping for ransom of a lovely Contessa.” – publisher’s description 

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“…This stand-alone mystery from the creator of the popular Sharon McCone series draws much of its appeal from its rustic, beautiful Northern California setting. A small tourist community, dependent on fishing and boating, is under siege. A water-exporting company has petitioned the state for rights to literally bag the water from the Perdido River and haul it to drought-plagued communities in the southern part of the state. Tempers are hot, and seasoned environmentalists have stepped in to help the locals fight the commercial interlopers. Suddenly events spin out of control, and two activists disappear. Using the alternating perspective of four characters, Muller teases out the relationship between the present-day struggle and a terrible secret from the past.” – Booklist

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If you like K.C. Constantine, author of Blood Mud and other Mario Balzic mysteries, try Swedish crime novelists Henning Mankell.  For more information on the listen to Steve Palson’s interview on the Nordic crime fiction wave  and npr’s profile of Mankell. – R. Kutler.

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If you enjoy Swedish mystery writers, like the classic husband and wife team, Maj Sjöwall and Peter Wahlöö, try the contemporary writer Håkan Nesser, whose earlier work, Borkmann’s Point won the the Swedish Academy of Detection’s best novel award in 1994.  Nesser brings back Chief Inspector Van Veeteren in The Return. – R. Kutler

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If you like Alexander McCall Smith, try Michael Dibdin.  “For anyone who has ever contended with the absurdities of organizational life, or has been trapped in a bureaucratic quagmire from which there is no excape, Zen’s daily struggles with Italian officialdom will strike a deep and resonant chord.  Unlike anti-establishment heroes, who are really just idealists in contrarian drag, Zen is perfectly comfortable with corruption…but at the sam time, he can’t resist the lure of an undiscovered fact.  He is the perfect existential hero for a world run by petty bureaucrats on both sides of the law.” – Booklist

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